A Sense of Direction

The strange and tortuous search for a way to improve GPS reliability.

Last December CrossRate Technology introduced its first (and so far only) product: a combined GPS and Loran receiver called the eLGPS1110. Two months later, Loran was switched off. CrossRate’s timing could have been better, but their concept was brilliant.

GPS provides an

Garmin 6000 and 7000 MFDs

There are new models at the top of the Garmin series, as well, in the form of two new ranges of large-format multifunction displays known as the GPSMAP 6000 and GPSMAP 7000 series. Like the 4000 and 5000 series, they offer a choice between touchscreen control (in the 7000 series at right) and more conventional soft-key and cursor operation in the 6000s.

Garmin 700 series

A recent addition to Garmin’s range is a series of touchscreen plotters whose size and price slot them neatly into the significant gap between five-inch GPSMap 600 series, whose prices start at about $1,000, and the 8.4-inch GPSMap 5008, which has a list price of $2,899.

At $1,499.99, the GPSMAP 740 (right) is pre-loaded with navigation-quality charts for

Sea-Me Dual Band

Sea-Me, the popular RTE (Radar Target Enhancer) or “active radar reflector” has been dramatically improved. The new Sea-Me Dual Band does exactly what its name suggests: it responds to both of the frequencies that are used by ships’ radars.

Until now, commercially available RTEs responded only to X-band radar transmissions. This meant

DeLorme Handheld Charting

DeLorme launched its first handheld unit less than two years ago, but has already followed up with two more.The most recent is the midrange Earthmate PN-30.

Like last year's range-topping PN40, the new model has a 32-channel GPS chipset for quick and reliable lock-on,and a dual-core processor to minimize the time it takes to redraw charts or aerial

Upgrade or Download?

It’s always nice to buy presents for the one you love—even if it is difficult, sometimes, to persuade your wife that the boat needs a new plotter more than she needs that designer purse.

But maybe you figure that now isn’t the best time to be spending big money on electronics upgrades. Well, the good news is that you can often significantly improve your

GPS Ailing and Failing?

Garmin Colorado 400C still better than a sextant even if the GPS is getting old ($599.99 MSRP;

There is growing concern that GPS performance may soon start to degrade, as the Air Force struggles to keep its constellation of aging satellites in operation.

It’s been more than 30 years since

The End of the GPS Monopoly?

Russian technicians fit a cluster of three Glonass satellites to a booster rocket.

Sometime in the last few years of the 20th century, a new term was added to the everyday vocabulary of ordinary Americans: GPS moved from James Bond movies to the dashboards of cars and trucks, the handlebars of motorcycles, and the backpacks of

Automatic Autopilot

John Redmond of Redmond Marine Electronics in Destin, Florida, does some pre-assembly in Betty Jane’s saloon.

Hand-steering my 1988 Grand Banks 32 Betty Jane for hundreds of miles down the eastern seaboard some years back qualifies me for a profound appreciation of autopilots. Certainly, the trip was physically onerous,

Si-Tex T-900 Series

Not all boaters, not even techy ones, enthusiastically embrace multifunction navigation electronics, let alone new-fangled solid-state radar. The conservative bullet points are, one, that several stand-alone devices will never leave a skipper completely functionless and two, that traditional magnetron-based marine radar is still being

FLIR M-Series

FLIR’s methodical two-year entry into the recreational marine world has been a thing to behold. Both its products, the popular entry-level Navigators and powerful Voyagers, and they way they’ve been promoted, through demo cruises, technical seminars, and the creation of a devoted dealer network, have been impressive. But while all this was going on, FLIR was also


While Fusion's super safe iPod dock is reassuring (see main story), there are increasing reasons to risk carrying one around on deck. On top of the iNavX and Navionics navigation apps for the iPod Touch and iPhone described last month, Palladium Technologies has developed an interface to its

Furuno FA-50

Furuno's FA-50 is also an unusual Class B AIS transponder. While every other model mentioned in this column, including the two Simrads, is based on a transceiver manufactured by the U.K. firm SRT, Furuno started from scratch, or rather from its experience as a major manufacturer of the Class A AIS

Planar LX Mariner

Planar LX Mariner

The global display company Planar has entered the little marine world with quite a splash. Its three new LX Mariner touchscreen PC monitors—eight-, 12-, and 15-inch screens with prices ranging from $2,000 to $2,200—are bonded (no fogging), sunlight-viewable, and


You may have heard that Apple's new 3G iPhone includes a GPS but did you know that someone has already developed a good $50 marine navigation program for it? iNavX is the work of the same development team that built the well-regarded GPSNavX and MacENC charting programs, and it shows. It will not only plot your

Autopilot Garminized

Garmin's new pilot head is as stylishly informative as its multifunction instruments.

The 50-foot custom Wesmac Kathleen might have been a real autopilot challenge, what with her twin 585-hp Cummins MerCruiser QSM11 diesels powering brutish Hamilton HM422 waterjets and little below for directional stability beyond her

ACR GlobalFix iPro

ACR GlobalFix iPro

ACR's new iPro GPS EPIRB earns its "next generation" marketing tag on three counts, the most obvious one being the reassuring and useful info shown on its one-inch digital display. When you self-test the unit, the screen delivers the results and even

Bushnell ONIX 400

Bushnell ONIX 400

Bushnell's Onix 400 mapping GPS is designed primarily for hikers, but I'm not the only boater to notice its ability to deliver both XM Satellite Weather and Radio in a form portable enough to also go on the water, in the car, etc. Unfortunately the weather data it displays is a limited subset of what's available

Furuno SC-30 Satellite Compass

Furuno SC-30 Satellite Compass

Furuno's new SC-30 can sense a boat's sea motion (pitch, roll, and heave) and relationship to Earth—i.e. position, heading, COG, SOG, and ROT (rate of turn). And it feels all that with astonishing accuracy and speed, as I witnessed at least in part (see "

Time Zero, Live

MaxSea's Iker and Brice Pryzo demo the Time Zero software they developed with Furuno.

"You must see it on water, where the technology and boat come together as one; it's so real!" exclaimed Brice Pryzo, his long arms flailing to overcome his strong French accent and mime the magnificence of his Time Zero navigation software. We

Raymarine SmartPilot X Series

Raymarine SmartPilot X Series

Raymarine is refreshing its entire autopilot line into the SmartPilot X (SPX) Series. All SPX course computers include rate gyros for better performance and use SeaTalkNG (a.k.a. STng or NMEA 2000) interfacing for easier installation and sensor sharing. The primary ST70 control head matches the nifty

Real-World AIS

Recent reports about the 25-foot sailboat Ouzo being run down in the English Channel by the P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao highlight the fact that we pleasureboat operators have to see the big guys because they are probably not going to see us. But what happens in rain squalls and big seas when a ship may be blocked from your view?

Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Max Pro

Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Max Pro

When Jeppesen Marine took C-Map under its wing early last year, a much-anticipated consequence was the melding of Nobeltec navigation software (NSS) with C-Map’s top-of-the-line Max Pro cartography. They’re here and forever memorialized in new product names VNS Max Pro and Admiral Max Pro, priced

Navionics HotMaps Explorer

Navionics HotMaps Explorer

If you’ve ever taken a plotter—handheld or otherwise—onto lakes, you probably know how inconsistent (sometimes nonexistent) freshwater mapping is. And you shouldn’t hesitate to try HotMaps Explorer, a $20 teaser product consisting of Fugawi’s full-featured PC planning program along with

Pocket Navigation

If Mae West were alive, her famously bawdy trademark line might go like this: "Hello there, sailor. Is that a WAAS GPS AIO PND loaded with a continent's worth of nautical, street, topo, and photo cartography and several hundred thousand POIs in your pocket...or are you just happy to see me?" To which a sorry geek like me might squeak back, "Pardon, Ms. West, no time for flirting; I've got gadgets

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